A co-operative society is a voluntary association of individuals having common needs who join hands for the achievement of common economic interest. Its aim is to serve the interest of the poorer sections of society through the principle of self-help and mutual help. The main objective is to provide support to the members. Nobody joins a cooperative society to earn profit. People come forward as a group, pool their individual resources, utilise them in the best possible manner, and derive some common benefit out of it. A Co-operative Society can be formed as per the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912. At least ten persons above of 18 years, having the capacity to enter into a contract with common economic objectives, like farming, weaving, consuming, etc can form a Co-operative Society. Cooperative Societies Act is a Central Act. However, ‘Cooperative Societies’ is a State Subject (Entry 32 of List II of Seventh Schedule to Constitution, i.e. State List). Though the Act is still in force, it has been specifically repealed in almost all the States and those States have their own Cooperative Societies Act. Thus, practically, the Central Act is mainly of academic interest and as per preamble to the Act, the Act is to facilitate formation of cooperative societies for the promotion of thrift and self-help among agriculturists, artisans and persons of limited means.
If object of the society is creation of funds to be lent to its members, all the members must be residing in the same town, village or group of villages or all members should be of same tribe, class, caste or occupation, unless Registrar otherwise directs. The provision of minimum 10 members or residing in same town/village etc. is not applicable if a registered society is member of another society.
The Statement of Objects and reasons states as follows:
(a) Cooperative Society can be established for purpose of credit, production or distribution.
(b) Agricultural credit societies must be with unlimited liability.
(c) Unlimited society is not best form of cooperation for agricultural commodities.
(d) Unlimited society can distribute profits with permission of State Government.
The need for shelter is one of the elementary human necessities in a civilized society. Over the past few decades, housing finance has become an increasingly attractive business proposition for various players in the financial market of the country. Among the various institutional arrangements made by the Central and State Governments for housing development, Co-operative Housing Society plays a dominant role in improving the housing stock. In India, Co-operative housing has emerged as a strong, well-organized and significant movement. Over the years, co-operative housing has grown from strength to strength and presently there are about 92,000 co-operative housing societies spread across the length and breadth of the country. This has enabled it to make a noticeable impact on the housing situation in the country.
Origin of Housing Co-operative society
The origin of the co-operative housing movement in the country dates back to the beginning of the present century.
The first co-operative housing society was set up in the year 1909 in the former Mysore state (now Karnataka) and was known as the Bangalore Building Co-operative Society.
Maharastra also took the initiative in this field by forming a non-official body in the year 1913. This was known as the Bombay Co-operative Housing Association. This association framed a set of model bye-laws which later became the guiding factor for the organizational set up of many housing co-operatives in other parts of the country.
There has been continuous growth in the number of housing co-operatives, their membership and house construction activities. Since 1959-60 and up to March, 2001 the number of registered co-operative housing societies in the country has increased from 5564 to 92000. Their local membership has considerably increased from 0.32 million to 6.60 million and their working capital has also gone up by more than 94 times from Rs.550 million to Rs 52000 millions.
Need For housing Co-operative society
The co-operative sector has an important role to play in housing development in India. The housing co-operatives support the Government in implementing their social housing schemes especially for the rural area. Poor members are able to get houses at a relatively lower cost. They have the facilities to become owners by paying the cost in easy instalments. Co-operative housing estates and townships endeavour to provide modern amenities such as roads, street lights, parks, post office, library, school and recreation centres. Thus, housing co-operatives also facilitate community living.
Some of the important activities of housing co-operatives are discussed
a) Housing Cooperatives and National Development Housing cooperatives have contributed to national development through national housing development in not only quantitative but also in qualitative terms. The housing stock created by housing co-operatives is qualitatively superior to that created by other supply sub-systems catering for lower and middle-income groups. b) Co-operative Housing for the Weaker Section- Members from the more affluent sections of the society are able to construct houses of their own without recourse to co-operative housing. But through co-operative action considerable economy is effected in land development, purchase of building material, technical consultancy, efficient architectucture, planning and providing other
infrastructure facilities like sewerage, water supply, electricity and approach roads to bring down the overall cost of housing so as to be within the reach of poor families.
A Co-operative society is a form of voluntary organization. It enables people to attain effective realization of higher and more prosperous standard of living, better living, better business and better Farming. In essence, Co-operation is self-help made effective by the organization. It naturally relies on honesty and integrity of members for the economic amelioration of the weaker sections of the population. It follows democratic management and solves common problems for all, particularly the housing problem in the country.